— Business tycoon Jeety urges A.M.E. Zion Graduates
By Robin Dopoe and David A. Yates
For graduates of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, listening to business tycoon Upjit Singh Sachdeva’s inspiring commencement address might have given them the best advice of their college careers.
Asked by the University to speak on the theme, Setting Higher Expectations, Sachdeva informed the graduates that he was going to lecture them about what higher expectations are, and how you can go about setting them but to tell a story that will inspire them to become hungry for success and fight for it.
“The fact that you are here today graduating from one of the nation’s premier universities is a clear sign that you are aiming for something, driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. You are gifted and educated and have been prepared academically by a top-notch institution, so I am not going to define what expectations are, rather tell you about my secret to success — RISK and IMAGINATION,” said Sachdeva as he mounted the podium to speak.
Narrating the story behind his success, the Indian business tycoon told the University’s 482 graduates that his is success in business did not come by luck, but through in his character as a fearless risk-taker and follower of his imagination.
According to Sachdeva, risk-taking and exploring his imagination had made him to learn lot about life and business as a result of following his inner voices, and intuitions, and not what other people think.
“Do not be afraid to be fearless risk takers — for there is truly little learning in success, but in failure — we learn lessons of life. [The fact is] you will never truly know yourself, and the strength of your ability, until you take risk— such knowledge is a true gift that is painfully gained, but worth the experience,” said Sachdeva, who is popularly known in Liberia as ‘Jeety’.
Jeety, who is a former Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, reminded the students that risk-taking is not fun because of the fear of failure, but failure is inevitable, and “it is impossible to live without failing even if you live cautiously.” He furthered that, had he been afraid of taking the risk, he might never have found the determination to succeed in the business arena, or the courage to direct all energy into finishing the only work that mattered.
“The fear of loss caused you to freeze into a mode of inaction thereby putting your dreams on hold — perpetually. When I let go of my fear and took the risk of quitting College for a business opportunity in Liberia, I was set free mentally, and full of courage and zeal to build my life as a successful businessman,” added Sachdeva.
“35 years ago, I was in India going to Law School at Guru Nanak Dev. University, Amritsar, India but halfway through my study for a Secord degree, I quitted the University for a Business Opportunity in Liberia. That decision left my family gravely heartbroken, and because I neglected their chosen career path for me, but being a lawyer was never my calling, so I took a great risk to quit law school and pursue my dreams.”
“But as a person, who follows dreams, whether big or small, I needed to pursue activities and take actions to make my dream a reality. It was that conviction that made me realize that the Risk I took was not going to be meaningless.”
However, Sachdeva cautioned the graduates not just to take a risk simply because they want to; rather, they should back it up with well-defined thoughts (imagination) — a key component “to begin the journey of exploration and self-discovery.
“I just do not take risk because I want. It must be backed by imagination because it is the greatest gift of mankind in which all the power to change one’s life lies in — the power of being successful,” added Sachdeva, in his message to the graduates.
He further reminded them to not behave like some people who choose to remain comfortably within their bounds, and not trouble about how it would feel to have been born other than they are.
“Your intelligence and your education give you unique status and responsibilities. But, it is imagination that will set many of you here apart. If you open your hearts to your imaginations, instead of falling into the trap of analysis paralysis, you will succeed,” said the Indian business tycoon. “So as you follow your imaginations, you are going to find naysayers in every turn that you make. Do not listen — get out there and work like hell and never ever be afraid of failure.”
Also, he reminded the graduates that they can overcome all odds because he was in similar position decades ago but succeeded as a result of following his imaginations and taking risk.
“There is no such thing as cannot be done. If you really want to achieve your imagination, it will be yours for the taking. For there is truly little learning in success, but it is in failure, we learn lessons of Life,” Sachdeva said.
Meanwhile, A.M.E. Zion University conferred upon Mr. Sachdeva an honorary Doctor Degree in Humane letters, “as a result of his outstanding contributions to education and humanities, which has and continues to impact Liberia positively.